NFL Sunday for Week 5 is officially a wrap! We still have the Colts vs. Ravens on Monday Night Football, but in the meantime, it’s time to start considering your fantasy football waiver wire options. The Week 6 waiver wire can make or break you, especially as we kick off NFL bye weeks.
As with every week in the NFL, key skill position players are going to go down with an injury. Some may step right back onto the field soon while others will miss time. When one guy goes, an opportunity opens up for someone else to fill the gap.
Below is a rundown of notable skill position injuries, and who stands to benefit as you consider what to do with your waiver wire priority. We’ll offer updates on each injury as new information comes along this week.
Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots
Patriots running back Damien Harris took a beating in the team’s ugly 25-22 win over the Texans on Sunday. The Pats’ rushing leader exited the game in the third quarter with a chest injury and was taken out of the contest altogether late in the fourth with injured ribs.
It’s slim pickens when it comes to New England’s running back depth but Rhamondre Stevenson (7% Yahoo/6% ESPN) and Brandon Bolden (8% Yahoo/7% ESPN) are both right there for the taking in the event that Harris misses time because of his injuries. The rookie Stevenson appeared for the first time since Week 1 and registered 11 carries on Sunday while Bolden got two touches for 25 yards.
If neither of those running backs are your cup of tea for their matchup against the Cowboys this Sunday and you want double down on the NE passing game, consider tight end Hunter Henry (45% Yahoo/35% ESPN), who caught six of eight targets for 75 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
Smith-Schuster has had a miserable first month of the season from both a stats perspective and an injury perspective. The wide receiver has battled through a rib injury for the past few weeks and was taken out of Sunday’s 27-10 win over the Broncos with a shoulder injury.
Chances are you won’t be able to find Chase Claypool or Diontae Johnson on any normal waiver wire, but WR James Washington (1% ESPN, 0% Yahoo) would be someone to consider for their matchup against the Seahawks on Sunday Night Football. Yes, Washington missed this past game with a groin injury. Should he be healthy for Week 6 however, he could be a viable replacement option for JuJu. He caught four of five targets for 69 yards in place of Chase Claypool against the Packers in Week 4 and is capable of stepping up and doing it again.
Quintez Cephus, WR, Detroit Lions
The Lions’ brutal 19-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday was made worse by receiver Quintez Cephus going down with a shoulder injury in the second quarter. He caught three targets for 38 yards and some are already fearing just how severe the injury could be.
If the big-play receiver for the Lions is indeed out for an extended period of time, there’s a few options from this offense you could turn to. Amon-Ra St. Brown (4% ESPN/3% Yahoo) is still available and led Detroit receivers on Sunday with seven receptions for 65 yards. And with Cephus potentially on the shelf, the next receiver bound to get more looks is Kalif Raymond (5% EPN/3% Yahoo). He has 22 receptions for 182 yards and two touchdowns on the season.
Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
Giants star running back Saquon Barkley rolled his ankle in Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys and the swelling got so bad that he had to be carted off.
Barkley has been snake-bitten as he was still trying to get back to his old self following last season’s ACL tear. With him potentially sidelined with the ankle injury, backup Devontae Booker (4% ESPN, 2% Yahoo) becomes someone to definitely try to snag once the wire opens up. He punched in a touchdown and caught one through the air in the loss. His touches will definitely increase as Barkley once again nurses an ailment.
Kenny Golladay, WR, New York Giants
The blows continued for the Giants offense on Sunday with quarterback Daniel Jones being ruled out with a concussion and wide receiver Kenny Golladay going down with a knee injury. The wideout confirmed afterwards that he hyperextended it, per Zack Rosenblatt, so the timetable for how long he’ll be out is unknown.
Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton are also battling injuries, so rookie Kadarius Toney (13% Yahoo/9% ESPN) becomes a must-have for the Giants offense (when he’s not being ejected for throwing punches). Before he was shown the door in Sunday’s game against Dallas, he went off for 189 yards off 10 catches.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs lead back went down in the third quarter in clear pain. Two teammates had to carry him off the field and he was later ruled out with a knee injury. CEH was able to limp to the locker room to get x-rays, but was ruled out from returning. If he is unable to play in Week 6, Darrel Williams would likely get the start and Jerick McKinnon would be the primary backup.